Nervous Newport Gwent Dragons made hard work of beating the Borders and ending their four-game losing streak.
Dragons (13) 20
Tries: Forster, Wyatt
Cons: Warlow (2)
Pens: Warlow (2)
Borders (3) 16
Pens: Hore (3)
A Jason Forster try and Craig Warlow's kicking built a 13-0 lead, before Charlie Hore's boot and a Stephen Cranston try pulled it back to 13-6.
An excellent Gareth Wyatt try created by Warlow seemed to settle matters.
But the Scots hit back with a Stephen Cranston try and two Hore kicks, and a late Nikki Walker knock-on with the line at his mercy cost them a win.
Both sides were missing their international stars, but the pressure was really on the home side at Rodney Parade, coach Paul Turner having declared this a must-win game.
Warlow opened the scoring with a penalty, and the Dragons' early confidence showed as the forwards worked a fine try for Forster.
The move featured excellent inter-passing between Peter Sidoli, Jamie Ringer and Steve Jones, the latter sending his captain clear to the line.
Warlow added the conversion and a second penalty, but the Scots began to get into the game with a period of sustained pressure on the Dragons' line.
Powerful wing Walker went close to a try, then - as the home side infringed repeatedly - fly-half Hore opened the Borders' account with a penalty.
He added a second soon after the break, but the Dragons' nerves seemed to be settled with Wyatt's try.
Quick ball came to Warlow from an attacking ruck and the fly-half - perhaps having learnt from the Dragons' recent clash with Carlos Spencer's Northampton - clipped a kick off the outside of his boot.
The Borders proved tenacious opposition
It flew perfectly to wing Wyatt, who went under the posts for a converted score.
But straight from the restart a simple move across the Borders back line ended with an inside pass from Stuart Moffat to Stephen Cranston and a soft try.
Hore converted superbly from the touch line and added another penalty to close the gap to four points.
His side thought they had clinched it three minutes from time as Walker galloped for the line, but he lost possession under Wyatt's tackle meaning the Scots only had a bonus point to show for their trip south.
Dragons coach Paul Turner:
"It looked like we were trying to lose that game, not guide it home.
"I felt that at 13-3 we should have gone away from them, and I think we would have done that if we had our international stars playing.
"But Borders are a good unit who play attractive rugby and we didn't have the firepower to kill them off.
"Credit to the boys who have come into the team, though. We're a tight unit and they got the job done."
Dragons: Hinton, Wyatt, Tuipulotu, Bryant, Breeze, Warlow, Baber, Black, S. Jones, R. Thomas, Hall, Sidoli, Ringer, Bryan, Forster.
Replacements: Maddocks for Black (70), Oakley for R. Bryan (54), Robinson for R. Thomas (55). Not Used: Brown, Griffiths, A. Thomas, Payne.
Borders: Moffat, Danielli, Cranston, MacDougall, Walker, Hore, McKearchar, Thomson, Ford, McGee, Palepoi, Dalziel, Brown, Sititi, McEntee.
Replacements: Scott for Ford (70), Cross for McGee (45), Miller for Sititi (70), Rennick for McEntee (70). Not Used: Stewart, Beattie, Tibble.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa).